Legacy Building 101: Designating a Charity in Your Will

What is Planned Giving?

Planned giving is a thoughtful and intentional way of supporting charitable organizations through estate planning. It involves making provisions in your will or estate plan to donate assets or funds to a charity of your choice upon your passing.

Planned giving allows individuals to leave a lasting legacy while maximizing the impact of their charitable contributions.


what is the Significance of Estate Planning?

Planned giving allows individuals to support causes they care about deeply. It provides an opportunity to align charitable giving with personal values and interests, ensuring their philanthropic passion continues after they have passed.

How can I Support Charities through Planned Gifts?

Photo © Greater Good Charities

  • Bequests: Designate a specific sum of money, a percentage of your estate, or assets to a charity in your will. 
  • Charitable Trusts: Establish a trust that benefits the charity and your heirs, providing income for a specified period before the assets are transferred to the charitable organization. 
  • Gifts of Retirement Assets: Designate a charity as a beneficiary of your retirement accounts, such as IRAs or 401(k)s. 
  • Donor-Advised Funds: Establish a fund with a sponsoring organization, from which you can recommend grants to charities over time.

Why Include Charitable Giving in my Will?

Incorporating charitable donations into your will offers numerous financial and personal benefits. 

1) Tax Advantages

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Charitable contributions made through your will may be eligible for tax deductions, reducing the overall tax burden on your estate. Certain planned giving strategies, such as charitable trusts, can provide additional tax benefits during your lifetime.

2) Leaving a Legacy


Your charitable contributions impact organizations and communities that matter to you, preserving your values for future generations.

how do I name a charity to my will?

  • Identify causes that resonate with your values and passions. 
  • Research organizations to ensure they align with your philanthropic goals.
  • Consider personal connections or experiences that may influence your choice of a charity.
  • Incorporating a charitable bequest into your will requires planning and legal guidance. Consult an attorney experienced in estate planning to ensure your wishes are accurately documented. 
  • Specify the charity, amount, or assets you wish to donate in your will. 
  • Review and update your will regularly to reflect any changes in your charitable intentions or financial circumstances. 

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You can use the Create a Will tool through FreeWill if you have just started your planning. It is free to use, and most people finish in 20 minutes or less.